(Update) Lenfest Vows to Publish If Journos Strike

Philanthropist H.G. "Gerry" Lenfest speak at a news conference after a closed-door auction to buy the The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News Tuesday, May 27, 2014, in Philadelphia. Photo | AP, Matt Rourke

Philanthropist H.G. “Gerry” Lenfest speak at a news conference after a closed-door auction to buy the The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News Tuesday, May 27, 2014, in Philadelphia. Photo | AP, Matt Rourke

(Updated at 7:08 p.m. with Newspaper Guild response.)

The man who owns the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com vowed Thursday to keep publishing if journalists and other workers at those organizations go on strike.

“In the event of a strike, we remain committed to continuing to operate both digitally and in print and will continue to take the steps necessary to address the significant economic challenges that face us and our industry,” Gerry Lenfest, the publisher and owner of Philadelphia Media Network, said in a memorandum distributed to PMN’s employees. Read more »

Lenfest Announces Profit-Sharing for Inquirer, Daily News Workers

Philanthropist H.G. "Gerry" Lenfest speak at a news conference after a closed-door auction to buy the The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News Tuesday, May 27, 2014, in Philadelphia. Photo | AP, Matt Rourke

H.G. “Gerry” Lenfest told workers at the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com they will receive a profit-sharing check. Photo | AP, Matt Rourke

Full-time employees of the city’s two major daily newspapers will receive a $903 profit-sharing check, publisher Gerry Lenfest said in a memorandum today. But the seemingly good news quickly became a point of contention in the negotiations between management and the union that represents the company’s journalists.

Interstate General Media — the parent company of the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com — has gone to mediation in its negotiations on a new contract with the Newspaper Guild, the union that represents journalists at all three shops. The guild says the company is asking for concessions that could cost each employee thousands of dollars apiece. Read more »

Historic Philadelphia Honors Ed Rendell, Gerry Lenfest and Karen Butler

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Last Wednesday, Historic Philadelphia Inc honored Governor Ed Rendell, Gerry Lenfest, Karen Butler, the William Penn Foundation and PECO. The evening convened at the Historic Philadelphia Center at Sixth and Chestnut streets, at 5:30 p.m. Following cocktails, guests moved to Independence Hall, where they experienced a scene from Historic Philadelphia’s Independence After Hours tour with Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams arguing about who should write the Declaration of Independence. From there, guests headed to City Tavern to enjoy Chef Walter Staib’s authentic Revolutionary-era recipes. Historic Philadelphia, Inc. will be hosting its seventh annual “An Evening in Franklin Square” presented by Parx Casino on Thursday, May 14th.
Photos after the jump »

Philadelphia Finally Gets a Veterans Parade

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Believe it or not, Philadelphia did not have an official Veterans Parade until now.

That’s right: The city where American democracy got its start did not have a citywide parade to honor its veterans. U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, philanthropist/Inquirer owner H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, City Council President Darrell Clarke, City Councilman David Oh and other city officials announced Wednesday morning that that will change this year.

Read more »

Older Workers Targeted in IGM Buyout Offer

The-inquirer-doors-front-view-of-building

Interstate General Media — the parent company of Philly.com, Inquirer, and Daily News — is seeking to cut costs by eliminating some of the company’s longest-tenured workers.

IGM employees received a memo Wednesday afternoon from Howard Gensler and Bill Ross — president and director, respectively, of the Newspaper Guild that represents them in collective bargaining — informing them of the buyouts, and asserting that layoffs may be necessary if the company doesn’t reach its cost-cutting goals through volunteer departures.

The target of the buyout efforts: Employees who have stuck with IGM and its parent companies the longest.
Read more »

The Inquirer Endorses Nobody for Governor

Philanthropist H.G. "Gerry" Lenfest speak at a news conference after a closed-door auction to buy the The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News Tuesday, May 27, 2014, in Philadelphia. Photo | AP, Matt Rourke

Philanthropist H.G. “Gerry” Lenfest speaks at a news conference after a closed-door auction to buy the The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News Tuesday, May 27, 2014, in Philadelphia. Photo | AP, Matt Rourke

And in the 2014 Pennsylvania governor’s race, the Philadelphia Inquirer endorses … nobody. Absolutely nobody.

Readers on Sunday were instead treated to a list comparing and contrasting the major positions of Gov. Tom Corbett and challenger Tom Wolf — something that mostly could and should run in the paper’s news pages — but without any kind of weigh-the-facts-and-make-a-recommendation conclusion at the end of it that you’d expect from the op-ed page of the region’s biggest news operation. (A similar grid ran in Friday’s Daily News.) Instead, we got a column from owner/publisher Gerry Lenfest explaining the effort as a kind of high-minded bit of innovation.

Read more »

(UPDATE) Gerry Lenfest Is Tom Corbett’s Fifth-Biggest Donor

Philanthropist H.G. "Gerry" Lenfest speak at a news conference after a closed-door auction to buy the The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News Tuesday, May 27, 2014, in Philadelphia. Photo | AP, Matt Rourke

Philanthropist H.G. “Gerry” Lenfest speak at a news conference after a closed-door auction to buy the The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News Tuesday, May 27, 2014, in Philadelphia. Photo | AP, Matt Rourke

[Update 6 p.m.] Interstate General Media, the company that owns the papers and Philly.com, sends along a statement saying the donations are old news:

In February 2014, The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Magazine both reported on the nature of Mr. Lenfest’s $250,000 donation to Governor Corbett’s reelection campaign. The donation was directly related to the governor’s approval of a $30 million grant for the proposed Museum of the American Revolution.

In the Feb. 4 Inquirer article, headlined “Lenfest second largest individual donor to Corbett”, Mr. Lenfest made the following statements regarding his donation in an interview:

“I greatly appreciated that support from the Commonwealth,” Lenfest said. He said he was “even more appreciative of what Gov. Corbett did” because Lenfest had supported Democrat Dan Onorato for governor in 2010.*

“He (Corbett) saw the museum as something worthy of support. . . . It wasn’t a quid pro quo because he didn’t know that I’d give to him when he approved the RCAP grant,” Lenfest said.*

It should be noted that Mr. Lenfest’s political contributions to the governor’s campaign were made prior to becoming sole owner and publisher of Interstate General Media’s publications. Mr. Lenfest stands by The Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com’s fair and balanced coverage of the gubernatorial campaign.

[Original] Gerry Lenfest, publisher of the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com, is one of the biggest cash donors to the re-election campaign of Gov. Tom Corbett, an Associated Press analysis reveals.

Lenfest has given $252,000 to Corbett’s campaign, making him the Republican’s fifth-biggest donor, AP reported.
Read more »

Gerry Lenfest Makes It Official: He’s the Publisher

Philanthropist H.G. "Gerry" Lenfest speak at a news conference after a closed-door auction to buy the The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News Tuesday, May 27, 2014, in Philadelphia. Photo | AP, Matt Rourke

Philanthropist H.G. “Gerry” Lenfest speaks at a news conference after a closed-door auction to buy the The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News Tuesday, May 27, 2014, in Philadelphia. Photo | AP, Matt Rourke

Gerry Lenfest confirmed this morning that he will be the permanent publisher of the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com — but added that he still intends to hire a senior executive to oversee the “day-to-day” operations of Interstate General Media, the company that owns the three news outlets.

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 6.55.32 AM

Today’s Inky masthead.

“Since the sale of the company, I’ve held the title of interim publisher as I took a deeper dive into the business,” he said in a statement emailed to journalists. “After more than two months in that role, I wanted to make the title permanent. I’m enjoying this role as the company continues to make big strides in building a winning culture by assembling a great team of journalists and executives.

He added: “With all this said, I remain committed to recruiting another senior executive to lead day-to-day operations, and I’ve been actively working to do so.”

Read more »

Lenfest to Inquirer, Daily News Reporters: “Work Hard But Rest Easy”

Leaders of the Newspaper Guild, the union that represents the journalists of the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com, had their first formal meeting with new owner Gerry Lenfest on Tuesday. Some developments:

• Lenfest told the journalists he is “committed” to continuing with two papers, meaning the perpetually in danger Daily News can rest easy for the moment.

• He’s considering keeping Philly.com as its own, independent entity with its own identity.

• He expects to have a publisher in place within three months.

• He does not expect to seek any wage cuts from journalists, and may offer a contract longer than two years during the next round of negotiations.

• He buried the hatchet with Bill Ross, the guild’s executive director. The two famously feuded by letter during the Inky’s ownership crisis.

A full memo from the Guild regarding the meeting, after the jump:

Read more »

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